Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Kurdish Iranians

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Kurdish Iranians

Mehdi Ghazinour1, Naser Mofidi1, Nader Esmail-Nasab2, Jörg Richter3

1 Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Psychiatry, Umeå University, S-90187 Umeå, Sweden

2 Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences, Sanandaj, Iran

3 Centre of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Regions South and East, P.O.Box 23 Tåsen, N-0801 Oslo, Norway

Corresponding author:
Prof. Dr. Jörg Richter
Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Eastern and Southern Norway, P.O.Box 23 Tåsen
N-0801 Oslo

Running head: PTSD in Kurdish Iranians

Key words: PTSD, general mental health, life events, Kurdish Iranian, general population Abstract
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) represents a major public health problem world-wide. In order to derive preliminary prevalence figures of PTSD and general mental health in Kurdish Iranians the applicability of the PTSD Checklist (PCL) was investigated combined with the 12- item version of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) and a slightly modified version of the Life event Checklist (LEC). 1000 randomly selected individuals were investigated. About 40.1 % of the subjects reported that they have been affected by one of the possible traumatic events. A prevalence of PTSD based on the PCL of 10.9 % was found which was higher than that reported in other countries, but lower than expected. With decreasing emotional involvement in the event, the probability of suffering from a PTSD decreased. Women suffered significantly more often from PTSD then men especially from re-experiencing and arousal symptoms. Particularly women seem to be in need for culturally adapted intervention procedures related to PTSD. The results support the construct and differential validity of the Persian version of the PCL.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), one type of anxiety disorder, represents a major public health problem world-wide [1]. The initial focus on trauma-related consequences historically changed from an exclusive somatic perspective to a much more comprehensive understanding that incorporated a major psychological perspective. Investigations of PTSD as a public health problem were mainly initiated in the U.S.A. and led to the inclusion of PTSD as a distinct psychiatric entity in the DSM-III. By accepting PTSD as a psychiatric disorder, its nature and origin became subject of comprehensive discussions. It is argued that PTSD represents a timeless condition, which existed before it was codified in modern diagnostic systems, but was described in different terms such as ‘railway spine’ and ‘shellshock’. Others suggest that PTSD is a novel presentation that is caused by modern interaction between trauma and culture [2]. PTSD represents a development occurring in individuals after they have experienced a traumatic event. A 'traumatic' event is characterized by its capacity to provoke fear, helplessness, or horror in response to threat of injury or death. Symptoms include distressing 'flash backs' (re-experiencing the event), avoidance of situations reminding the individual of the event, increased arousal, and psychological numbing. The fist epidemiologic report from the U.S.A. conducted by Helzer and colleagues [3] estimated a prevalence of PTSD of about 1 % in the general population and identified a higher rate of PTSD in women than in men. However one criticism of this study was a probability of underestimation of PTSD [4,5]. Another prevalence study of high validity was conducted in the general population found an overall prevalence rate of PTSD of 7.8 % with a rate of 10.4 % among women, twice as high as that found among men (5.0 %) [6]. Estimates of trauma exposure showed that about 60% of men have been the victim of one or more traumatic events, while 51% of women were exposed to such events [4]. Epidemiological investigations of traumatic life events and PTSD provide important guidance for researchers and...
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